Monday, July 14, 2008

"Me too" wants to spend more of your money

Labour has pledged over $400 million of your taxes (not petrol tax but general tax) to pay for the frightfully expensive Transmission Gully motorway. This doesn't even cover half the cost.

Now politicians pushing Transmission Gully are pushing a simple truth about democracy and how people think.

Most of those who want Transmission Gully are simply gunning for the government to make other people pay for it - you see if central government pays, it will be virtually invisible to those who benefit from it, as on a per person basis nationwide we are talking about over $250 for every man, woman and child. Politicians can hide that through borrowing. For property owners in Kapiti, Mana and Pukerua Bay, this is nothing compared to the uplift in values they will experienced. John Key wants the votes of people out there and Wellingtonians generally - he's willing to make the whole country pay for this piece of pork.

John Key could have said the following on Transmission Gully:

"Look, Ministers shouldn't be involved in decisions about what roads are built where. We have had nine years of Labour meddling in the decisions of government agencies as to what road funding should be built on, with special funds for "regional development", "walking and cycling" and goldplating of projects for little apparent benefit. Labour delayed the bypass of Orewa that is currently being built, and advanced other projects instead. It delayed Wellington's Inner City Bypass to placate the Greens through to the 2002 election. It suddenly found money for Tauranga Harbourlink to placate Winston. National wont play favours with motoring taxes.

You see I don't know whether or when Transmission Gully should be built. No Prime Minister should be making these decisions, because spending money on something so large takes money away from other projects. In fact Transmission Gully can't be funded by existing motoring taxes alone, so it would mean either taking more money in taxes or asking the users to pay for it. I say if the private sector is willing to pay for it, and users are willing to pay through tolls, let it be built. However I wont promise to spend over $1 billion on a big road in Wellington, because next week I might be asked about a big road in Auckland, and then one in Christchurch, and Hamilton and so on. What I will promise is I'll take politics out of road funding decisions once again, and let the decision on Transmission Gully be one of merit - not one of politics".

What he actually said according to the Dominion Post was:

"His party, if elected, would look at increasing the Crown contribution." Oh so general taxpayers in Invercargill, Auckland and everywhere else should pay for a big motorway to Kapiti?

"It's a possibility. We need to put it into the mix. It's a big issue and obviously things can move around. There's got to be a point where it works." Does there? Maybe it doesn't John. Maybe it's an expensive political bribe.

National would also introduce a greater use of debt-funding and relax provisions for public-private partnerships for major projects such as Transmission Gully.

"I think it can be built. A solution is going to have to be found."

John, it's just "me too" isn't it? Spending more taxes so you can buy a bigger slice of pork than Labour.

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